Sunday, October 05, 2008

Troy: Shield of Thunder Review

The second book of David Gemmell's Troy trilogy, Troy: Shield of Thunder, is every bit as engaging and entertaining as it's predecessor.

Having failed to take the palace of Troy by subterfuge, the Mykene king Agamemnon sets into motion his plans for the beginning of a great war between the forces of the west and east of the Great Green.

Kalliades and Banokles, two former Mykene warriors who survived the foiled attempt in Troy, are now declared failures and traitors by Agamemnon and fugitives from their own land. Fleeing to the unknown, they encounter a beautiful young runaway, Piria, and the three form an unlikely pair who travel to the Golden City seeking fate and fortune.

Meanwhile, the Dardanian king Helikaon has wed Queen Halysia while the true woman of his heart, the Princess Andromache, is due to wed his long time friend and ally Hektor, prince of Troy. King Priam of Troy announces a grand wedding feast and games in which all the kings of the Great Green are welcome to attend and witness the occasion, however with the shadow of open war looming, both Priam and Agamemnon use the gathering to forge new alliances and insult future enemies alike, including the storytelling king of Ithaka, Odysseus, once known as the Sacker of Cities.

Troy: Shield of Thunder is another epic of historical fiction, filled with drama, character, and action, and it takes the story begun in the first novel and moves it in directions both difficult to predict and captivating to read.

The characters are very deep and evolving, and as the war looms, those who are friends are forced to make very difficult choices as to where their allegiances will lie. Not only does Troy: Shield of Thunder strongly expand upon the characters introduced in Troy: Lord of the Silver Bow, but the new (or relatively new in the case of Kalliades and Banokles) characters add another lair of complexity and intrigue to the already great cast of flawed heroes.

So much so, that the bulk of the first third of the novel focuses almost exclusively on the silent and cunning Kalliades, the simple and loyal Banokles, and the fiery and dedicated Piria, and is a stronger read for it. For these newcomers are swept up in the great events of their time, and become an integral part of Gemmell's tale, and for the grand war to come.

Troy: Shield of Thunder is historical fiction at its finest and should not be missed.

No comments: